Paris municipal budget up 0.9 percent

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PARIS — When residents head to annual town meeting on Saturday, June 17, they will weigh in on a $7.3 million total budget.

Action gets underway at 10 a.m. at the Paris Fire Station, 137 Western Ave., where voters will act on a 29-article warrant.

The fiscal 2018 budget totals $7,373,372. The municipal operations budget is $3,941,922, which is up $35,049 or 0.9 percent.

The town’s contribution to SAD 17 is projected at $3,146,934, which is an increase of $194,519.

Paris will pay Oxford County $284,516, which is an increase of $6,991.

The projected mil rate is expected to increase by 90 cents to $17.70 per $1,000 of assessed value. The current mil rate is $16.80.

“This municipal budget represents a net increase of less than 1 percent. Positives to the budget include a reduction of over $123,000 to debt service, tighter line by line budgeting, and better pricing for fuels, electricity, and phones,” Town Manager Vic Hodgkins said in an email.

“Challenges to the budget include a budgeted 15 percent  increase to health insurance, a substantial increase to worker’s comp insurance, and a much deserved 2 percent pay raise for staff,” he continued. “I am proud of our department heads, Budget Committee, and selectboard for the creation of this very responsible budget.”

The Board of Selectmen and Budget Committee agree on the appropriations for each department. They are:

  • Administration $450,679, down $7,683
  • Debt Service $134,332, down $123,483
  • Police Department $636,735, up $76,404
  • Highway Department $715,509, up $5,865
  • Boards/Committees $6,690, down $930
  • Parks and Recreation $45,034, up $7,054
  • Social Services $174,500, up $7,950
  • General Assistance $19,945, down $688
  • Recycling $250,000, down $25,886
  • Unclassified $520,608, up $57,713
  • Fire Department $384,640, down $8,561
  • Capital $603,250, up $47,294

For capital expenditures, there are 13 areas the $600,000-plus would be spent on. They include:

  • Parks & Recreation $1,000
  • Police Station improvements $2,000
  • Fire Station improvements $3,000
  • Highway Garage improvements $3,000
  • Town Office improvements $12,750
  • Roads $480,000
  • Computer equipment $500
  • Computer software $500
  • Police cruiser $35,000
  • Plow truck $40,000
  • Highway equipment $10,000
  • Fire vehicle improvements $5,000
  • Fire equipment $10,500

Voters will also be asked to use $1,602,194 in revenue, along with $55,000 the town received from the Maine Public Employee Retirement System to offset the tax rate.

As for the widely debated $217,000 in surplus, voters will choose to use it towards fixing Mount Mica Road or to offset the tax rate. If voters approve the road project, the entirety of Mount Mica will be fixed in two years instead of three and could potentially save the town roughly $100,000 on the project.

eplace@sunmediagroup.net